Cisco's CEO Rips Into The Patent System & All Who Abuse It, Big Or Small

from the nicely-done dept

There are plenty of discussions about the problem of patent trolls, but if you think that’s the only problem with the patent system, you haven’t been paying attention. There have been a ton of major clashes going on between big companies, spending billions buying up patents, suing each other… and not putting that money into innovation or lower prices. So it’s nice to see Cisco CEO John Chambers speak out against the patent system by calling out both the trolls and the big tech companies for abusing the system and hindering innovation. Yes, he sees the problem with trolls:

“It is a mess; There are patent trolls everywhere,” said Chambers, noting that patent problems impose huge costs on every company.

But he didn’t limit his comments to just trolls:

But Chambers was also critical of the trend by tech companies of suing one another over alleged patent violations. He didn’t name names, but, speaking to the audience, he said for “his peers” in the room, “you shouldn’t be suing your peers.”

Patent litigation, he added, slows down innovation.

Given that he’s criticizing basically everything, when asked what should be done, he’s apparently come around to the conclusion that the system is completely broken:

“completely throw out everything, and start from the beginning.”

In the same talk, he also passed on an easy chance to attack one of Cisco’s biggest competitors, Huawei. You may remember that a Congressional investigation had warned that doing business with Huawei was dangerous, and hinted at possible industrial espionage by the company (which Huawei denies). In response, some had suggested that the report was really the US just trying to create protectionist policies favoring Cisco. Given that, it would be easy for Chambers to go with that easy story and knock Huawei while it’s down. Instead, he suggested the whole story was overblown, telling a questioner “no” to a question about if the US should be suspicious of Chinese companies, and later noting that Cisco partners with a ton of Chinese companies, and “China should and will be an ally to the U.S. in my opinion, and you will see us interface with a number of Chinese companies.”

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Comments on “Cisco's CEO Rips Into The Patent System & All Who Abuse It, Big Or Small”

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out_of_the_blue says:

Translation: Ruling class should band together against the serfs.

‘he said for “his peers” in the room, “you shouldn’t be suing your peers.” ‘ — It’s odd nowadays to use that term for colleagues, so may well be significant.

“completely throw out everything, and start from the beginning.” — It’s needed, but we must not leave it up to corporations to set the new rules! That’s guaranteed to be worse for the public. GUAR-AN-TEED.

I’m sure that Cisco gets (much of) its equipment from China. He’s not likely to criticize the country or in any degree suggest that the equipment he gets money from selling may be suspect. At the very least Cisco’s stock price would drop. — So WHAT’S the surprise there, Mike? Why play it up?

You gullible kids always take corporate statements the obvious way, which is with your own (perhaps) mistaken premises: you never check your premises as Ayn Rand advised, so never even suspect that the same words might hold an entirely different meaning for the ruling class.

RD says:

Re: Translation: Ruling class should band together against the serfs.

“You gullible kids always take corporate statements the obvious way, which is with your own (perhaps) mistaken premises: you never check your premises as Ayn Rand advised”

Ah, you’re one of *those* people. That explains so much. Well, at least I understand the *why* even if I can no longer stomach the *what* that you spew on a daily basis.

Now, it’s not only even easier to just hit “report” and bs:dr you, but I can do it joyfully and with complete justification.

Anonymous Coward says:

Is there any way to put an end to this ignorant persons incessant lame and inane bullshit!

Sure there is. Report every post and it gets buries behind a wall that takes extra effort to click on to see. Personally I think the two trolls have gone too far and need permanent ban but that would not speak good for anonymity to do so. I have no problem with a differing point of view. The trolls aren’t even taking the time to read the article before firing off, telling you the problem is they are trolls and not differing opinions that they are being the pest about.

In a very recent article, China has decided this is really about a trade war with the US government on Cisco’s side. They have just ruled that they are concerned that Cisco’s equipment can not be verified to be ‘clean’ and that the software and hardware are full of bugs.

So they will be reverting to local equipment and removing Cisco’s equipment. Cisco now holds something like 70% of the backbone routers in China.

Boy that one worked out really well.

Sean T Henry (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

If you would have spent 3 seconds clicking on the link you would have got your answer.

“China Unicom, the country’s second largest telecom operator, has replaced Cisco Systems routers in one of the country’s most important backbone networks, citing security reasons [due to bugs and vulnerability.) The move came after a congressional report branded Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. security threats in the United States, citing bugs and vulnerability (rather than actual evidence of spying.) Surprising to us, up to now, Cisco occupies a large market share in China. It accounts for over a 70 percent share of China Telecom’s 163 backbone network and over an 80 percent share of China Unicom’s 169 backbone network. Let’s wait to see who’s the winner in this trade war disguised as national security”

Not an Electronic Rodent says:

Re: Re: Re:

and it’s cisco and NOT Cisco..

Picked up a bit of net trivia somewhere did you? Yes, Cisco was originally spelt with a lowercase ‘c’ as an abbreviation of San Fran’cisco’. The bit you missed in your haste to try and look knowledgable was that it was capitalised in 1995.

A hasty look at Cisco’s own website would show it capitalised all over the place and you’d think they’d know how to spell their own name wouldn’t you?

Anonymous Coward says:

We could just scrap the system and not rebuild it. Imagine how fast we’d blow past the rest of the world on everything if we suddenly opened up, well, everything. As product cycles became measured in months or weeks, there’d be a mass demand for ever-faster and sophisticated manufacturing capabilities and facilities that would once again be the envy of the world. Copying and knockoffs would become pointless because by the time you reverse engineer a competing product it’d be obsolete.

Anonymous Coward says:

masnick, taking advice from a company that is a major FAILURE in the industry, not such a good idea..

cisco used to be a good company, but not being able to innovate has turned it into yet another 3rd rate US company that is having massive trouble keeping up..

innovate ?? they have not done much of that for a long time, no wonder they are keen to be able to steal innovation from others, (and without patents, not have to pay for it).. and sell that innovation to make some money..

but they have shown an inability to invent or innovate, and like many other companies it is necessary for them to use the idea’s from other people.. so it would make some sense for the ceo of that company to try to justify this by saying patents are not good .. blah… especially if you dont have any… and suck…


However, Cisco continued to be challenged by both domestic Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper Networks and overseas competitors Huawei. Due to lower-than-expected profit in 2011, Cisco was forced to reduce annual expenses by $1 billion. The company cut around 3,000 employees with an early-retirement program who accepted buyout and planned to eliminate as many as 10,000 jobs (around 14 percent of the 73,400 total employees before curtailment).[

JA says:

CEO office needs reduction in head count.

I was doing some research online about this CEO of Ciscos named John Chambers and basically what I found was actually really kind of interesting. ?You see years ago,John Chambers had as his chief engineer the current vice Pres. of research and development over at a company called Huawei.?

?Recently huawei has made it into the press, there’re allegations that the company which appears to be mutually owned by its own employees also has ownership with in the Chinese Red Army. ?

No I don’t know what necessarily to think about that. ?But years ago when I worked at AT&T and we were working on a backhaul project one of the suggestions as a result of ?research there was finding a vendor that could support the amount of data necessary to connect cell sites to central offices. ?

Huawei had new technology developed in China and D&D in the Bay Area that directly competed with Cisco and Juniper and other major vendors including Nortel and Lucent. ?It was very fast approximately 200 Gb per second and at the time the fastest competing technology was 40 Gb over single strand fiber. ?

Now, technology needs to advance especially when it comes to countries like China who have a population explosion. ?

But at the same time Cisco was recently mentioned in a 60 minutes article detailing how the Chinese red Army has overtaken the telecom sector, and presents a threat to Cisco’s business. ?

In any situation the other interesting thing about Cisco seems to be that they are currently suing TiVo for not licensing patents for a secondary business, owned by Cisco– Scientific Atlanta that develops set-top box technology.

It’s quite a Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment when you think about it…. ?

Cisco was; well, rather, Scientific Atlanta failed to license key technology for DVR equipment… so what does Cisco do? ?They decide to sue TiVo for not making available something that they own.?

Put another way, let’s say you own a painting… and I kind of like your painting… so I come to you and want to buy your painting… and you decide not to make an offer… But I really like your painting so I am going to sue you for not selling it to me.

What do you think about that???

Anyways another article that was recently in the Wall Street Journal included in interview from CEO John Chambers saying how there’s not enough education happening in America schools. ?

It’s hard to say that there’s not enough education in America’s schools when your former talent left to develop a new product line which you can’t compete with.

The article was titled if CEOs ran education it was quite hoot actually, but maybe just myself…?

Because a lot of times in the past companies would actually have continuing education courses to ensure that their products remain state of the art.?

But the combined CEOs of AT&T Accenture and Cisco appeared to be appeasing Wall Street by saying that they can go ahead and not have an R&D budget as long as research and development happened within our educational system. ?This should change. ?

Because if a CEO of a technology company is unable to recognize R&D talent within his own company, and then has to go on 60 minutes, the television show, to claim that their competitors product presents a threat of national security… ?Well I don’t know what to think about that… but John Chambers should probably be like go. ?

Outsourcing your R&D to a competitor’s product is not R&D. ? It’s a failure of senior-level management to address the customer base which they serve and produce a product along with sales of that product.

Anonymous Coward says:

Translation: Ruling class should band together against the serfs.

Let’s assume you’re 100% right and that there’s an ulterior meaning to everything the Cisco CEO said. If what we’re literally after is ‘completely throwing out everything, and starting from the beginning’ when it comes to patents why wouldn’t we harp on someone saying exactly that regardless of their intentions? If that’s our goal wouldn’t it behoove us to cheer comments like that on until it actually happens and when it does hijack the process to make sure it turns out for the best interests of the public?

TL:DR You play it up because it’s supportive to the cause regardless of why they said it.

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